Professor Matthew Jones on The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent

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With the support of the UK Project On Nuclear Issues, RUSI is pleased to host a discussion with Professor Matthew Jones, Head of the Department of International History, London School of Economics.

Drawing on material from the first two volumes of The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, Professor Jones will trace the story of why and how successive British governments endeavoured to build and then maintain an independent, nationally controlled strategic capability between the end of the Second World War and the entry into service of the last of the Resolution class Polaris submarines in 1970. 

Against a background of evolving British ideas about deterrence during the Cold War, this discussion will focus on the strategic, political and diplomatic considerations that compelled governments, in the face of ever-increasing pressures on the defence budget, to persist in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and to deploy a credible nuclear force, as the age of the manned bomber gave way to the ballistic missile.

Professor Matthew Jones is currently Head of the Department of International History at the London School of Economics. His research interests relate to Cold War history, US foreign relations, post-war South East Asia and the history of nuclear weapons. His journal articles have appeared in English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Journal of Cold War Studies and Diplomatic History. In 2008, he was appointed as an official historian by the Prime Minister. He is the author of five books, the last three of which have been on nuclear history:  After Hiroshima: The United States, Race, and Nuclear Weapons in Asia, 1945-1965 (2010); The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, Vol I: From the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964 (2017); and The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, Vol II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-1970 (2017).

Professor Jones will be on hand to sign copies of his latest books, which will be on sale.

The discussion is followed by a drinks reception from 1930 to 2030.

This event is open to all RUSI and UK PONI members. UK PONI Members should register via email via

To attend this event, please register online using the "Book your place" button above. If you have any queries please contact Irina Dihanova, Event Manager, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.

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